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Spices of India, Medicinal
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Caraway Biennial

(Common name:- Caraway)




It is native to Northern Africa, Central Europe and mediterranean. It grows wild in many parts of Canada and the United States and also chiefly cultivated in Finland, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe and Germany, furthermore North Africa, particularly Egypt.

Caraway is a spice mostly loved in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. It is often recognized the most typical spice of the German-speaking countries.

Plant Description

It is a biennial plant that reaches 2 feet with smooth, furrowed stems.

The roots are thick and tapering, like a parsnip, though much smaller and are edible.

It has finely cut feathery leaves.

The umbrella like clusters of flowers is white in colour.

The fruits are laterally compressed, somewhat horny and translucent, slightly curved, and marked with five distinct, pale ridges. They evolve a pleasant, aromatic odour when bruised, and have an agreeable taste.

The seeds are deep brown, flat and oblong in shape.


It prefers a moist soil in full sun or partial shade. It tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 7.6. This species is deep rooted and is a good plant for breaking up the sub-soil on heavy, wet land.

Caraway does best when the seeds are sown in the autumn, as soon as ripe, though they may be sown in March. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

The plants strongly resent root disturbance though they grows well with other plants.

Parts Used

Seeds, leaves and roots are the edible part of the plant.

Main Constituents

Caraway fruits may contain 3% to 7% essential oil. The chief constituent of the oil is a hydrocarbon termed Carvene, the aroma of the oil is mostly dominated by carvone (50 to 85%) and limonene (20 to 30%); the other components carveol, dihydrocarveol, dihydrocarvone, a- and ß-pinene, sabinene, pinen, thujone and perillyl alcohol are of much minor importance.

It also contains some polysaccharide, protein, fixed oil calcium oxalate.

The exhausted seed, after the distillation of the oil, contains a high percentage of protein and fat, and is used as a cattle food.

Leaf (Fresh weight)

" 253 Calories per 100g
" Water: 7.2%
" Protein: 20g; Fat: 4.4g; Carbohydrate: 55.8g; Fibre: 11.9g; Ash: 12.6g;
" Minerals - Calcium: 1784mg; Phosphorus: 543mg; Iron: 48.8mg; Magnesium: 451mg; Sodium: 208mg; Potassium: 3308mg; Zinc: 3.3mg;
" Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.42mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.28mg; Niacin: 2.8mg; B6: 1.5mg; C: 0mg;

Seed (Fresh weight)

" 333 Calories per 100g
" Water: 9.9%
" Protein: 19.8g; Fat: 14.6g; Carbohydrate: 49.9g; Fibre: 12.6g; Ash: 5.9g;
" Minerals - Calcium: 689mg; Phosphorus: 568mg; Iron: 16.2mg; Magnesium: 258mg; Sodium: 17mg; Potassium: 1351mg; Zinc: 5.5mg;
" Vitamins - A: 363mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.38mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.38mg; Niacin: 3.6mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Culinary Uses

Medicinal Uses

Other International names

Turkish : frenk kimyonu
Italian : cumino tedesco
Finnish : saksankumina
Hindi : vilayati jeera
German : Kümmel
French: cumin de prés